Obion County

Obion County

Obion County was formed in 1823 from Indian lands

(Private Acts of Tennessee 1823, Chapter 114)

The county seat is Union City.

There was an earthquake at the Obion County
courthouse in 1842.


Selected Published County Histories
  • Doing Our Job: Obion Countians in World War II: An Oral History (Forrester & Threlkeld, 1997)
  • Glory and Tears, Obion County, Tennessee, 1860-1870  (Forrester,  1966)*
  • History of Obion County: Towns and Communities, Churches, Schools, Farming, Factories, Social and Political  (Marshall,  1970)*
  • History of Tennessee From the Earliest Times to the Present: Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Gibson, Obion, Dyer, Weakley and Lake Counties  (Goodspeed,  1978)*
  • History of Walnut Log  (Summers, 1995)
  • Marks on the Land: The Story of Obion  (Glover,  1975)*
  • Obion County History, Union City, Tennessee  [2 vols.]  (Obion County Historical Society,  1981)*
  • Once Upon a Time in Rives: A History of Rives, Obion County, Tennessee  (Allen,  1969?)*
  • Pictorial History of Obion County, Tennessee (Threlkeld.,  1994)*
  • Roads Less Traveled: Self-guided Tours to Historic Sites & Scenic Areas in Obion County  (Forrester & Threlkeld,  1996)

Additional county and community histories can be found at the Bibliography of Tennessee Local History Sources:  Obion County. The items in the bibliography may not all be available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  


Published Local Records
  • 1880 Census Obion County, Tennessee  (Sistler,  2002) [alphabetical by head of household]*
  • Cemeteries of Obion County, Tennessee  [2 vols.]  (Obion County Genealogical Society,  1986) [name index]*
  • Court minutes index, 1824-1828 [Obion County], (Works Progress Administration, 19??)
  • Dyer Co., Tennessee, Gibson Co., Tennessee, Lake Co., Tennessee, Obion Co., Tennessee, Weakley Co., Tennessee: Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-One Years  [1891 enumeration of male voters]  (Reed,  1990)
  • Indexes, First Circuit Court Minute Book, Volume 1: Knox County Tennessee, February 1810-August 1817: Obion County, Tennessee  (Daughters of the American Colonists,  1988) [name index]*
  • Minute Book [Circuit Court], 1826-1839  [vol. 1. 1826-1832;   vol. 2  1832-1834;   vol. 3   1835-1839]   (WPA,  1937-1938) [name index]
  • Obion County, Tenn., Court Minutes, October 1849-September 1861  (Paessler,  2000) [name index]*
  • Obion County, Tenn., Wills, Adm. & Bonds [vol. 1 Oct. 1834-Mar. 1837; vol. 2 June 10, 1837-Dec, 7, 1839; vol. 3 Jan. 20, 1840-Mar. 7, 1842; vol. 4 Mar. 1842-Aug. 1843; vol. 5 Aug. 1843-Nov. 1844] (Willis & Sellers) [name index in each volume]*
  • Obion County, Tennessee, 1850 Census  (Porch,  1973) [surname index]*
  • Obion County Tennessee Cemeteries: Elbridge Cemetery, Mason Hall Cemetery, Zion Cemetery (2003) [name index for Elbridge Cemetery and Mason Hall Cemetery]
  • Obion County, Tennessee, Court Minutes, 1824-1828, Index  (WPA,  19??) [name index]
  • Obion County, Tennessee, Court Minutes, 1824-1848  (WPA,  1940)
  • Obion County, Tennessee Deed Book  [1824-1834]  (Crumpton,  2003) [name index]*
  • Obion County, Tennessee, Marriage Records (Loose), 1824-1860  [bound with: Marriage Book, 1838-1845]  (WPA,  1940) [name index]
  • Obion County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, 1824-1877  (Gary & Stricklin,  1978) [name index]*
  • Obion County, Tennessee, Will Book, Vol. 1 or A, 1833-1861  (WPA,  1936) [name index]
  • Zion Cemetery, Obion County, Tennessee (Green [et. al.], 2007) [name index]


Local Records on Microfilm 

An inventory of microfilmed Obion County records is available on our website.  Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1838
  • wills from 1834
  • inventories and settlements from 1834
  • deed index from 1824
  • chancery court minutes from 1854
  • county court minutes from 1824
  • circuit court minutes from 1826
  • tax books from 1843


The following reels are available on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives:

  • Deed Index -- 1824-1884  (#44,  1 reel)*
  • Executor's Bonds & Settlements -- 1856-1859 (#A1970, 1 reel)*
  • Marriages -- 1838-1878 (gaps)  (#18,  1 reel)*
  • Wills, Inventories, & Settlements -- 1834-1844  (#40,  1 reel)*
  • Wills, Inventories, & Settlements -- 1844-1853  (#41,  1 reel)*
  • Wills, Inventories, & Settlements -- 1853-1861  (#42,  1 reel)*
  • WPA Records, Obion County  (Record Group #107, Roll 63,  1 reel). Roll includes County Court Minute Book & Index (1824-1848),  Circuit Court Minute Book 1 & 2  (1826-1834),  Circuit Court Journal (1835-1839),  Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions Minute Book (1834-1835),  Will Book A (1833-1861),  Loose Marriage Records (1824-1860) and Marriage Book (1838-1845).*


Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspapers were published in Kenton, Obion, Troy and Union City. Scattered early issues are available from 1876, and a complete run begins in 1929.   Microfilms are loaned to Tennessee libraries.  Individual reels may also be purchased.  An Inventory of Newspapers on Microfilm at the Library and Archives is available on our website.


Selected Manuscripts Material
  • Cane Creek Regular Primitive Baptist Church of Christ Records. Obion County, 1842-1873, 1884-1906  (Microfilm Manuscript #776,  1 reel)*
  • Elbridge (New Chapel) United Methodist Church (Elbridge, Tenn.) Records, 1886-2008 (Microfilm Manuscript #1950, 2 reels)
  • James Strong Moffatt Account Books. Troy, Obion County, 1848-1928 (Microfilm Manuscript #1174,  29 reels)*
  • Josephine (Westmoreland) Casey Memoirs, 1910 (Microfilm Manuscript #45,  1 reel)*
  • Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Records. Obion County, ca. 1845-1984 (Microfilm Manuscript #856,  2 reels)*
  • Pleasant Valley Methodist Episcopal Church, South Records. Union City, Obion County, 1875-1975  (Microfilm Manuscript #795,  1 reel)*
  • Republican Grove Baptist Church Records. Obion County, 1838-1860 (Microfilm Manuscript #198,  1 reel)*
  • Sabin Photographic Collection, 1870-1972 (Microfilm Manuscript #1503,  9 reels)*
  • Smoot collection, 1854-1939 *
  • Union Station Methodist Episcopal Church, South Records. Obion County, 1870-1892 (Microfilm Manuscript #796,  1 reel)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 


Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for Obion County:  1830-1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index:  1830-1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm  (Soundex):  1880,  1900-1930
  • Obion County census records in book form:  1850*,  1880*


Additional Research Aids for Obion County


* Indicates this title may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan from the Library and Archives.


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Obion County Formation Act



"An Act for the establishment of a new county in the north west corner of this state."


SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county, to be called and known by the name of Obion County, be, and is hereby, established, and shall be bounded as follows: beginning on the north-west corner of a county already laid off west of Henry County, running thence south with the west line of said bounds, to the fifth sectional line in the thirteenth district; thence west with said sectional line, to the middle of the Mississippi River; thence up the main channel of said river, to the north-west corner of the state; thence east with the north boundary line of the state, to the beginning.

SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That for the due administration of justice, the courts of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions, and circuit courts, for said county, shall be holden at the house of William M. Wilson.


Passed on october 24, 1823

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Obion County Bibliography

PLEASE NOTE that the Tennessee State Library and Archives does not hold copies of all of the items listed in this bibliography. Please check the Tennessee State Library and Archives Online Catalog or visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives and verify we have an item in our collection. We will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.

Subjects :

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Obion County in General
  • Allred, Charles E. Farm housing in TN, with regional comparisons. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 45 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #26)
  • Allred, Charles E. Home conveniences on TN farms, with regional comparisons. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 41 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #30)
  • Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Obion County, Preliminary # 45-A). Nashville, TSLA, 1973. 32 pp.
  • Brandon, Jamie C., & Robert C. Mainfort. "Textile impressed ceramics from the Oliver site, Obion County, TN." TN Anthrop. 20 (1995), pp. 58-73.
  • Brown, James A. Cousin Willie & me: growing up in the 1930s. Michigan, the author, n.d. 113 pp.
  • Cashdollar, Parker D. The economic impact of UT Martin on Weakly & Obion counties, 1986-87. Martin, UT Martin School of Business Administration, 1988. 33 pp.
  • Cavanaugh, John. Historical sketch of Obion Avalanche, Company H, Ninth TN Infantry, CSA. Union City, Commercial, 1922. 52 pp.
  • Economic development strategy: Obion County, TN, Chamber of Commerce. Knoxville, TVA, 1987. 1v.
  • Flood insurance study: Obion County, TN, unincorporated areas. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1991. 1 v.
  • Forrester, Rebel C. Glory & tears, Obion County, TN, 1860-1870. Union City, n.p., 1922. 222 pp. (various reprints available)
  • Garland, Elizabeth B. The Obion site: an early Mississippian center in western TN. MS State U. thesis, 1993. 220 pp.
  • Glover, Polly S. Marks on the land, the story of Obion. Illustrated by Betty Larsen. Martin, UT Martin, 1975. 144 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of TN (Obion County, pp. 816-831, 932-983). Goodspeed, 1887.
  • Green, Haywood. History of the Turnpike Levee. Original drawings by Thel Taylor. Union City, Daily Messenger, 1978. N.p.
  • Mainfort, Robert C. Archaeological investigations in the Obion River Drainage: the west TN tributaries project. With contributions by Jamie C. Brandon, et al. Nashville, TN Div. Arch., 1994. 185 pp.
  • Marshall, E.H., ed. History of Obion County: towns & communities, churches, schools, farming, factories, social & political. Union City, Daily
  • Messenger, 1941. 272 pp. (various reprints available)
  • Obion County Hist. Society. Obion County history, Union City, TN. Dallas, TX, Taylor, 1981. 23 pp.
  • Obion County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
  • Sabin, a time returned, 1919-1924: photographs by Verne & Nonie Sabin in Obion County, TN 1919-1924. Union City, Obion County-Union City Museum, 1986. 33 pp.
  • Smith, Gerald P. Archaeological surveys in the Obion-Forked Deer & Reelfoot-Indian Creek drainages, 1966-1975. Memphis, Chucalissa Museum, MSU, 1979. pp.
  • Soil survey: Obion County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1973. 60 pp. TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Obion County, TN. Knoxville, TVA, 1934. var. pp.
  • Threlkeld, Bill & Charlene Threlkeld. A time returned: a pictorial history of Obion County, TN. VA Beach, Donning Co., 1994. 192 pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Bondurant, Hickman, Cayce, Crutchfield, Water Valley, Tiptonville, Samburg, Clayton, Union City, Harris, McConnell, Ridgeley, Hornbeak, Obion, Rives, Gardner, Miston, Lane, Trimble, Kenton, Rutherford.

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  • Flood insurance study: town of Kenton, TN, Gibson & Obion counties. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1982. 14 pp.
  • Norton, Dorotha O. Kenton: folklore & fact; the history of Kenton, TN, in words & pictures. Kenton, Kenton Jaycettes, 1972. 206 pp.

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  • Flood insurance study: town of Obion, TN, Obion County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1980. 14 pp.
  • Reelfoot cook book; a collection of famous recipes of this Reelfoot Lake country. Compiled & published by the Matrons' Bible Class, Obion, TN. Union City, H.A. Lanzer Co., 1950. 65 pp.


  • Allen, Alberta Kitchell. Once upon a time in Rives: a history of Rives, Obion County, TN. Union City, H.A. Lanzer, 1969. 124 pp.

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  • Forrester, Rebel C. "The making of a country editor: James M. Brice & the News-Banner of Troy, TN." WTHSP 35 (1981), pp. 103-117.

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Union City
  • Centennial Committee. A century on parade; centennial diadem of Dixie: Union City, 1854-1954, celebration June 20 to 30, 1954. Union City, n.p., 1954. 92 pp.
  • Dietzel, Ed. Now let's go back: Ed Dietzel remembers Union City. Union City, Obion County Hist. Soc., 1977. 88 pp. (reprinted 1988 by Lanzier Print Co.)
  • Flood insurance study: city of Union City, TN, Obion County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1980. 16 pp.
  • Forrester, Rebel C. "Tallyhos & tights: the showgirl & the playboy." WTHSP 45 (1991), pp. 124-139.
  • Historic souvenir Union City, TN; commercial & industrial advantages. Union City, n.p., 1912. 20 pp.
  • Maness, Lonnie E. "A ruse that worked: the capture of Union City in 1864." WTHSP 30 (1976), pp. 91-103.
  • Union City TN Plann. Comm. Economic survey of Union City. Prepared by Robert Cassell & William E. McIntyre. Union City, the Commission, 1948. 13 pp.


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